Colt's workout impresses, but 2-year-old hasn't raced

MIAMI -- A 2-year-old colt who has yet to run a race drew a world record sale price of $16 million at auction Tuesday at the Fasig-Tipton sale at Calder Race Course.

Demi O'Byrne, an agent, was the bidder and purchased the colt for a team headed by John Magnier and Michael Tabor.

The sale broke the record of $13.1 million paid in the mid-1980s for Seattle Dancer, a half-brother to Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. The previous record for a 2-year-old was $5.2 million for a son of Tale of the Cat, who was sold at this sale last year.

"You don't expect to sell a $16 million horse," said Boyd Browning, chief operating officer for Fasig-Tipton of Lexington, Ky. "I don't know if it will happen again in my lifetime."

O'Byrne and John Ferguson, who represents Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum of Dubai, pushed the bidding into record territory.

"The two major buyers in the world got hooked up in an emotional bidding situation, and sometimes logic doesn't prevail," Browning said. "An auction bid is not always a rational decision, but sometimes an emotional decision. Both people involved in the auction want to own the best horses in the world."

The colt's sale price last year at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select auction now looks like the bargain of a lifetime. Randy Hartley and Dean De Renzo of Florida bought the yearling for $425,000 for the purpose of reselling him, a practice known as pinhooking.

The colt, the second foal out of Magical Masquerade by Forestry, was bred in Florida by Satish Sanan's Padua Stables. An impressive workout Feb. 19 left potential buyers excited, prompting speculation that the colt might set a sale record. The colt ran an eighth of a mile in under 10 seconds -- 12 seconds is considered average.

"There were very high expectations," Browning said. "He's a beautiful horse, and he withstood the scrutiny of all the major buyers all week long."